Movie Review: Soul Surfer… It Truly Inspires

The End…

It’s just the beginning…

Stock Photography Image: A Young Man on the Beach With His Surfboard Watching the Sea.Wave Clipart Image: Person Boogie Boarding in Hawaii WavesStock Photography Image: Surfer On Beach At SunsetStock Photo: Girl Holding a Surfboard at the Beach

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back on the Board

Saturday morning… sleeping in.  I groan as my radio alarm goes off, turn over in bed, catch the speaker’s words.  He’s interviewing Bethany Hamilton and her youth mentor about the new movie portraying her surfing accident… the film I have plans to see today with a friend.  I swallow a lump as I listen to the youth minister recounting the moment Bethany’s brother called her with the news.  “He sounded strange, like he was playing a prank,” the young woman says, “and I kept telling him, this isn’t funny…”  She pauses, describing his shaking voice as he finally made her realize it was all too true.  A shark had severed Bethany’s arm… they were rushing her to the hospital.

“All I could think was, Why, Lord – oh why,” she says now about her drive to the hospital with Bethany’s brother.  She describes a whisper that came to her soul, then.  “I know the plans I have for Bethany, says the Lord, plans to give her a hope and a future…” (Jer. 29:11)    A wave of peace enfolded her as she turned in awe to Bethany’s brother.  “I think God just spoke to my heart about your sister,” she said, relaying the message of hope.  “You have to tell my mom!” he cried, as they rushed on.  When she did, she says, those words became Mrs. Hamilton’s anchor…  and Bethany’s

Her words echo in me that afternoon, as my friend and I edge our way through the dark theater, find two seats just as the movie begins.  Pictures of a toddler Bethany, descriptions of her heart for others, scenes depicting the sweet and pretty blonde teen with her loving family at play and in worship set the story in motion.  I find myself on the edge of my seat each time the camera moves underwater, beneath the surfboards… knowing what is coming, trying to steel myself

Still, the shock of that moment sets my own heart racing and I am taking deep breaths to keep my blood pressure from skyrocketing as I watch the shark tearing up out of the water, the adrenalin of Bethany’s friends encircling and rushing her to shore… Actress AnnaSophia Robb so wondrously portraying the shell-shocked Bethany – how she never passed out – her breathing, Jesus, Jesus, give me strength…   The wild rush to secure her, stay the bleeding, get her to the hospital…    Part of me thinks this scene will never end.  It has me riveted, yet willing it to be over… to move on to the rest of her incredible story…

I remember again the interview from this morning, the interviewer pointing out the movie does not include all details… such as the youth minister’s story of God’s whisper… and how in some cases things were changed to further the script.  I see that now as it unfolds… yet throughout the movie one word rings loud and clear.  Inspiration. One question echoes through the scenes a few times… the natural “why” and “what could possibly come out of this.”  Through it all comes one answer.  Faith.  HopeA future brighter than can be imagined.  A soft-spoken line Bethany speaks captures me like the wave that soars her heart — asked by a reporter if she would change that horrible accident if she could, her eyes shine as she says no… thoughtfully explains, she “could not have embraced as many people with her two arms” as she is now able to through her story, her conquering of adversity that she hopes encourages others in heart-searing circumstances…

I don’t believe God’s plan for Bethany was for a shark to take her arm… but as I watch, I do see how He can take the worst of tragedies, and turn them to unbelievable light.  This is not a story of religiosity, but of faith so integral to a young girl’s heart – as natural as breathing.  Or – for Bethany – as much a part of who she is as her surfboard and her life dream.

This is a movie about surfing, determination, grit…and ultimately stirs deeper awareness of what we are all here for… How far our dreams can take us, yes — but that it is so much more than we can ever find in the simple dream itself.   More than this I can’t say without giving the whole movie away… but I think how Bethany’s story stirs hope in us all and sparks flame to our own dreams.  At one point, the camera captures AnnaSophia’s beautiful face alight with wonder while she is surfing, as if she is floating in the curve of a wave, and I think… Lord, send your light into all our dreamsto bring stars of hope to the ones we each touch...

Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt poignantly portray the loving parents who surround their daughter with strength and resilience in the midst of their own sorrow…help her to cling to the promise that she can do all things through the One who strengthens her… comfort her with their absolute thankfulness that their daughter is “still alive and their family intact.” Carrie Underwood is convincing as the young youth minister. Through it all, I wonder — how ever were they able to make the actress look as though her arm was missing?  Utterly convincing.   I remember the lovely anecdote Bethany told in the radio interview…how Dennis Quaid heard her on a morning show and knew immediately he wanted to be part of her filmed story, felt his own “father heart” reaching out to her… And I find myself hoping this story touched the actors as much as it does the viewers, with our Father’s heart...

At midnight this day, I’m getting ready again for bed… I flip on the radio for a moment..  and unbelievably, there is an announcer once again discussing Bethany… a story that opened my day… inspired my afternoon… and is closing it, like a bookend, as I go to sleep.  And I think… tragedies like Bethany’s make us wish, “Oh, if only she had decided not to be out there that day.”  And yet… they show us His arms around us even in our darkest moments, like the way the camera caught her feeling of being safe inside the wave, lifting us on to higher dreams…

Stock Photography Image: SurfingWords closing the movie on Bethany’s life speak to me…

The End.  It’s only the beginning...

They make me think again (as I have so many times lately) about loved ones who have passed away much too soon — How I wish I could see, just for a moment, the glow in their eyes as they step into their everlasting life, free of sickness, free to know joy.  For what looks like an ending is but a beginning. And how the most important thing in life is as Bethany learned too — the love we share here, the “it’s a wonderful life” difference we make to those whose lives touch ours…      

Purple flower wreath free flower clip art (small)Has anyone touched or made an everlasting difference in your life – through their courage, faith, heart?  I’d love to hear about it..

©  Pam Depoyan



About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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2 Responses to Movie Review: Soul Surfer… It Truly Inspires

  1. cweb says:

    I felt like I was at the movie with you as I read, and would like to see this movie! I love the word that came to the pastor about the plans God had for her, to give her a future and hope, in the midst of the tragedy. Thanks for the great review!

    Is this on DVD now? I never saw it advertised in the theaters. . .

  2. Thanks, Cari. I’ve had a lot of “traffic” on this post so it seems popular, but you are the first one to leave a comment on it! I doubt it is on DVD already, but not sure. It was just in celebration theaters. I think I saw it the first week it was out. Glad you enjoyed the review!

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